Tag Archives: Facebook

Hoodies for justice

Today, Huffington Post Sports reported Dwayne Wade and LeBron James posted pictures to Facebook and/or Twitter showing them with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over their heads. LeBron’s picture showed Miami Heat teammates participating in the act of protest. Both posts were in response to the death of a local teenager shot and killed by a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. late February. Shooter George Zimmerman said he shot the unarmed  African American, Trayvon Martin, out of self-defense and has not been arrested.

I am not a big Heat fan…AT ALL, but was struck by this team’s efforts to use their respective platforms to bring awareness to the injustice of Martin’s death. In the NBA, players are bought and sold constantly. Players rarely end up in the community they grew up, nor do they stay for long periods of time. Thus, players don’t often have deep connections to the communities they play in. This is natural. I don’t know if this was prompted by the Miami Heat executives, but I like it regardless. Wade, James and their teammates are using their massive social media reach to bring awareness to an injustice in their community, while also showing the Florida community that they care about what’s going on there. This is community relations at its finest. This is just good PR.

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How to be a ‘man of the people’

Today, ESPN posted a video of Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard talking about interacting with fans via Twitter and his future in the NBA. I’m not a huge Dwight Howard fan, but he’s definitely doing something right.

Watching this video reminded me of a post I wrote a while back titled “How not to tweet…for athletes.” It takes more than being an incredible athlete to get lots of followers. Shaq is the most followed athlete on Twitter for a reason; he’s entertaining.

Contrary to what many believe, Twitter is not about spitting out whatever you’re thinking every second of every day. It’s a quick fast way to network and create and foster a larger community. It is a way to interact with people who you wouldn’t normally come into contact with on a more personal level…and a much less creepy one compared to friending or faning on Facebook.

Similarly, Dwight is doing more than just mindlessly creating content and shoving it into the micro-blogosphere, he’s engaging. This is was not only increases followers, but sustains them. And sustainability is key.

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Caution: Mobile media emerging

Today Pat Coyle, president of Coyle Media, a digital media and sports marketing consulting firm, posted an article on the company blog about mobile use statistics. The article states that out of four billion mobile phones in use, 1.08 billion are smartphones. It projects that mobile internet usage will overtake that of desktops by 2014. And 91% of mobile internet access is to socialize via social networking. Over 200 million YouTube views occur on mobile devices every day. Now that I’ve blown your mind with a bunch of statistics, lets contemplate this.

Initially these numbers surprised me. But when I gave it a bit more time to sink in, it all made a lot of sense. In a class activity today, only three out of sixteen students didn’t have a smartphone. And when I think about what I do on my BlackBerry, I check The New York Times, get more news through Twitter, check sports scores, browse my Facebook newsfeed, check email, Google things, and send thousands of texts daily. Consuming through mobile devices is the future. I no longer go through the trouble of pulling out my laptop to go on twitter, I just use my phone. One click and done.

Mobile media is a quickly emerging market, and I’m sure the way we use it will change just as fast. It’s our job as PR professionals to keep up with the curve and utilize the developing channel to more effectively reach our target audiences.

So what does this mean for the sports industry? Not always a good thing. Let us revisit Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre’s cell phone seduction story. This past fall a story broke including voice mails and inappropriate photos likely sent by Favre to the cellphone of former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger.

In an age where immediacy rules, nothing is safe and everything can go public at any moment. How many times have you almost posted someone’s name (who you were attempting to search) as your Facebook status? As celebrities, athletes are more vulnerable then most because they are targets.

So, in the age of mobile media, nothing is totally safe. Only text something you would say to the media. Because as we all know, a scandal breaks every day and it’s never a good thing to be at the center of it.

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Be Facebook fan-worthy

Artest's profile pic on his Facebook fan page

My classes at the University of Oregon have been discussing social networking a lot lately. So, because it’s on my mind, I thought I would present a little case study, if you will, about how to not use Facebook.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest (or someone who works for him) maintains his Facebook page that could use a few helpful pointers. Here, I’ve put together three rules to follow when in charge of a Facebook fan page.

1. Keep a current picture. Artest’s picture is from when he played for the Houston Rockets. Not exactly current since he was signed to the Los Angeles Lakers in July 2009. This is his only profile picture.

2. Monitor tagged pictures. Some of Artest’s tagged pictures are of him playing, rapping, in ads, little kids wearing his jersey and so on. The real problem comes when people tag him in advertisements that have nothing to do with him. Unless he wants fans to think he’s endorsing a discount show website or random iPhone apps, the tag should probably be removed. Also, pics of girls who want him to call them…delete.

A "photo of Ron Artest" according to his Facebook fan page

3. Spark two-way conversation. Artest’s fan page does not create posts of its own. One of the many benefits of social media is creating a conversation between you (the brand) and consumers. Posing questions and statements regarding sports or rapping or the values of the brand are what position you as a thought leader in your respective industry. Without initiating discussion, the fan page turns into a static wall filled will content created by others unmonitored yet attached to your brand.

If you’re going to commit to social media, you need to commit wholeheartedly. Content becomes outdated much more swiftly on the web, so neglecting it for a week is not acceptable. Above all, protect your brand.

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